There is a great scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indy is approaching the Holy Grail and is tasked with solving a series of riddles to continue his quest or die. In the scene, he solves the riddle of what a penitent man must do and in the nick of time he “kneels before God,” saving his life and continuing his quest.
In the last Priesthood session of General Conference, we were counseled as Priesthood Holders to “Do Better and Be Better.” President Russell M. Nelson stated, “nothing is more liberating, more ennobling, or more crucial to our individual progression than is a regular, DAILY focus on repentance.” (Emphasis Added)
A very interesting thing has happened to me as I have tried to put President Nelson’s counsel into practice. As I knelt to pray the VERY night we received the counsel, I listed off to the Lord everywhere I fell short that day and asked for some forgiveness. Admittedly, my prayer was much more personal and longer than it normally is. Satisfied that I followed the Prophet’s counsel I went to bed.
The next day I went about my business and as I went to bed I knelt before the Lord in the same manner and found myself repenting and asking for forgiveness of the EXACT SAME THINGS. Figuring this to be a profound coincidence (I’m not a fast learner), I eagerly looked forward to the following day to do better.
The third day came and when I went to pray before bed I started my prayer saying VERY sheepishly, “I have some bad news Lord, the same things I did the previous two days I have done again.” Please forgive me and please HELP me to do better.
During the 4th day, every time I had the opportunity to commit my “favorite” sins, I thought of how dumb I would feel before the Lord if I had to ask forgiveness again that evening. In two or three areas of my life that needed work, I feel that I have shown marked improvement due to shame and guilt.
A popular battle cry among “woke” young people is that they’re being “shamed,” and that any and all forms of shaming and guilt are bad things. I’m here to tell you that is a blatant lie. Shame and guilt due to our own sins can be a powerful motivator to improve when we are “penitent” before God.
God bless you, President Nelson, for your advice that almost immediately improved me as a father, as a husband, as a disciple, and as a man.
- “We Can Do Better and Be Better” -President Russell M. Nelson, April 2019
- “Repentance” -Elder Neal A. Maxwell, October 1991
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